Aspirations to promote the recognition of everyday clinical scholarship in general practice.
Over the past year, the COVID-19 pandemic has prompted everyone to stop and reflect on what they value in their lives. Personally, I have been reminded of the importance of a loving home and the reward that comes from a fulfilling career in general practice. It was inspiring to see primary care academics challenge advice on face coverings, question evidence on the use of ibuprofen in COVID-19, examine the connections between ethnicity and illness severity, discuss the limitations of swab and antibody tests and highlight the plight of thousands suffering from long-COVID. But alongside these academics it is important to recognise the everyday clinical scholarship in general practice.
I have had a lifelong passion for learning and academia. This enabled me to obtain a prize for outstanding A-level results, to support my studies at Keele University. During my medical training I was awarded the year 2, 3, 4 and 5 progress test prizes. Obtaining a GP Academic Clinical Fellowship post and subsequent grants from the Haywood Foundation and School for Primary Care Research enabled me to complete a PhD, to understand comorbid mood problems in people with inflammatory rheumatological conditions (IRCs).
During my PhD I acquired a range of research skills, performing a qualitative study, systematic review and cohort study. In addition, I was a co-investigator on a funded study (INCLUDE), which aimed to determine the feasibility and acceptability of a nurse-led review based in primary care, for people with IRCs. I led patient and public involvement and engagement (PPIE) throughout the study and facilitated a primary care stakeholder group. I co-designed and facilitated training to the nurses delivering the review, contributed to the design of an EMIS template to record consultations, developed a summary sheet to communicate outcomes of the consultation to patients and helped to evaluate the intervention.
Throughout my PhD I engaged with clinical communities, presenting my research regionally and nationally. I published my research in a range of journals targeted towards GPs and rheumatologists whilst also giving talks to community groups and co-developing a leaflet on mood problems in arthritis with patients.
During my PhD, I volunteered as a Personal Development Tutor, mentoring a group of medical students throughout their training. I was able to share my interest in primary care scholarship and advise them on careers in academic general practice.
After passing my PhD viva, I have taken the opportunity to improve my clinical practice, whilst applying skills acquired through my academic training to teach our multidisciplinary team. I have also obtained a position with the Royal College of General Practitioners, training pharmacists to deliver the new Community Pharmacy Consultation Service. Dealing with competing clinical demands has led me to reflect on how easily GPs can lose pace with rapidly changing evidence-based practice.
During my Wise GP Internship, I aspire to apply my skills to improve the impact of research in primary care and engage GPs to actively contribute ideas and participate in research. In particular, I hope to champion the distinct clinical scholarship which lies at the heart of person-centered general practice.
Dr Annabelle Machin